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March by Geraldine Brooks
March is Geraldine Brooks' imagining of the life of John March, the absent father of the March girls from Little Women. Since most of the characters in Little Women were based on Louisa May Alcott's family, Geraldine Brooks bases John March on her father, Bronson Alcott. In March, John March is an anti-slavery idealist and contemporary of Emerson and Thoreau. Although, he's opposed to war, he enlists as a chaplain in the Union Army during the Civil War, but he finds the common soldier lacks his abolitionist fervor. His pontification make the soldiers uncomfortable. The realities of war and human weaknesses collide with his idealistic principles, rendering a good man ineffective when he's most needed. His letters home tax his wife, Marmee, and she struggles with her own inner weaknesses. March has received positive reviews with the Christian Science Monitor saying, "The great philosophical and military clashes of 19th-century America come excitingly alive in this carefully researched novel. But Brooks is equally interested in the battles that will always rage in the conscience of anyone caught between the exigencies of real life and the demands of principle."